MP2 Environmental Education|
Monday, 14 November 2005: 8:00 AM - 6:30 PM in Exhibit Hall
P004 (FAL-1117-726159) Creating environmental science activities appropriate for middle school students.
Start time: 8:00 AM
Trapp, A1, Falconer, R1, 1 Chatham College, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Environmental Education generally refers to curriculum and programs which teach about the natural world and how ecosystems work. Its goal is to bring about an appreciation for nature to increase the likelihood it will be preserved for future generations. Environmental Education is a growing subject area in K-12 schools. Many state standards are being changed to require students to take an environmental science/studies class. Because the teaching of environmental education in K-12 is fairly new, many teachers are not familiar with the subject or creative ways of teaching it. Several organizations have created environmental education criteria and teaching manuals that can be used by K-12 educators. However, most of these manuals tend to gear activities and lessons towards either elementary or high school students or the activities are written for too broad a range of students (i.e. 4th through 12th grade). Lessons must then be adapted by individual teachers to fit the students' appropriate learning level. This extra work can deter teachers from attempting new activities. The 13 and 14 year-old age group (7th/8th grades) is perhaps the most diverse, yet is often underserved in this area of education. Very few activities are geared for this specific age group and teachers must either upgrade K-6 activities or lower lessons meant for high school students. For this project, several environmental science activities, geared for this specific age group, were created. Lessons include background information, one indoor activity, one outdoor activity, materials/supplies information, student worksheets, methods of student evaluation for teachers and sources for extended information. Topics include both natural systems (e.g. food chains) and environmental problems (e.g. acid rain). By gearing activities to this specific age group, middle school students will gain more from the lesson and teachers will be more likely to incorporate the activities into their classrooms.
P005 (RAU-1117-824898) Excursions in science for pre-collegiate students: Environmental contaminants and their effects in Florida alligators.
Start time: 8:00 AM
Rauschenberger, R1, Lawrence, C2, 1 US Fish and Wildlife Service, Jacksonville, FL, USA2 University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA
The future health of our environment depends on drawing high quality students into the field of environmental science. Therefore, education in environmental science should begin at the pre-collegiate level so that students may gain understanding of the challenges and opportunities experienced by environmental scientists. Our project uses internet and video CD/DVD interactive technology to present a well-documented environmental problem to illustrate the multidisciplinary nature of environmental science to pre-collegiate students and educators. The illustration involves reproductive problems in a species of universal interest, the American alligator; and its relation to a group of persistent, global contaminants: chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides. The basic scientific method serves as the outline with several leading researchers from the University of Florida, the Florida Freshwater Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the US Geological Survey discussing subjects ranging from alligator biology to environmental chemistry, to fate and effects of contaminants. Following the introductory material, a recently completed four-year study that examined the problem is presented to educate students in hypothesis testing, and the difficulty and fun in conducting field and laboratory studies. The project includes a discussion of the study's results, with leading researchers discussing potential solutions. Our project concludes with researchers' personal stories of their career pathways and words of advice to pre-collegiate students interested in environmental science careers. Project support provided by a grant to RHR from the Bingham Environmental Education Foundation and in-kind service provided by the University of Florida Center for Pre-Collegiate Education and Training. Study support provided by a NIEHS SBRP grant to Timothy S. Gross.